For its participation in the Paris Photo Show from 10 to 13 November 2011, Ilan Engel Galler
y is designing a stand (no. A11) on the theme of "Contemporary Forests", a marriage between force and fragility, light and shadow. Ilan Engel will be showing the enigmatic forest borders photographed by Romanian artist Mihai Mangiulea, and Tolstoy's haunted woods captured by Stephan Crasneanscki. Also present will be the sensitive work of Arnaud de Gramont as he explores the Australian forests in search of the essential.
Born in 1960 in Paris, where he still lives, Arnaud de Gramont opened an interior design agency in 1986 before choosing to devote himself to photography in 2003. That professional practice has allowed me to broaden my outlook on the perceptions we have of space. For me, it essentially comes down to two words: geometry and light. These are the parameters I emphasize when taking pictures. It's an architect's view, one that allows me to feel the lines and masses with a light that re-fashions the premises and sometimes annihilates time.
"Life": an imersion in contemporary forests
In 2011, Arnaud de Gramont set aside cities and their artificial lines and lights to immerse himself in lush Australian forests. There, beneath thick canopies of greenery, he photographed a series called "Life", where nature is both the décor and the subject of his work. These photographs illustrate Arnaud de Gramont's aesthetics, his quest for formal beauty, his flair for contrast. We can imagine him meandering beneath the exotic foliage, observing the filtered light and shadows above him, then plunging his lens deep into the heart of a plant, beckoned by the suns rays which have blazed a trail to that point.
"There are never any people in my photographs; humanity is only present through my gaze". As a result, these photographs reveal Arnaud de Gramont's sensitive look at nature, which he explores intimately. Incredibly beautiful and lively, with lines that burst forth and run in every direction through the workings of sap, that same nature also proves delicate, secret, and fragile
captured in a moment smack dab in the middle of a cycle between life and death, and life once again.
This connection that Arnaud de Gramont nurtures with the contemporary forests he visits almost borders on the metaphysical. For Frédérique Destribats, who critiques his work, it is a question of "finding the essential, one's essential, one's profound nature. In any event, it is a question of nature, sap, brilliance, life". She continues: "in short, Arnaud de Gramont explores the linguistics of photography, the semantics of light and time, to capture, to offer another dimension. And in so doing, he leads us to this infinite reflection on being and the real. In the end, perhaps the essential is not so invisible to the eyes".
Ilan Engel Gallery, in a few words and projects
Inaugurated in 2008 in the Marais, Ilan Engel Gallery shows contemporary plastic photography. With a heightened sensitivity to the Düsseldof school as well as the work of Sugimoto, Andres Serrano, Philippe Ramette, and Valérie Belin, Ilan Engel supports artists whose work is often conceptual, especially on the themes of landscape and architecture, but also sensitive and poetic poetry of the day-to-day, the body, the moment. "What attracts me in photography is to hear the silence", acknowledges Ilan Engel..